28 September 2008

Autumn Jewels

24 September 2008

Spoken For (Part 1)



A deer just told me off. Really. Brujo and I were enjoying our evening constitutional when he paused to take care of some personal business. While waiting for him, I chanced to look up and not 20 feet away from us stood a doe, 4 little ones ranged out behind her, all feeding.



None of them moved, despite our proximity, though the Momma kept her eyes on us. Brujo must have eaten something he shouldn't have today, because he was taking a bit longer than usual. Ms. Doe seemed to know this and she had absolutely no patience for it. After the interval she thought appropriate had passed, she glared at me and stamped her left front hoof, clearly telling us to move on!




The fawns paused in their masticating, but didn't run. They had ultimate faith in their Momma and waited on her signal. Chastened by her forceful stare, I nodded, and urged Brujo to hurry it along. We trotted off and all five of them put their heads down to resume their meal.



This isn't the first time a wild animal has "spoken" to me (though I don't believe I have ever been told to shove off before.) It is always a magical and humbling experience. The wonder of it stays with me for days—that feeling of being touched by the extraordinary, in the middle of a very mundane moment, has a way of making all moments shiver with possibility.

How does it feel when wild creatures contact you?

23 September 2008

Don Juan el Brujo



You'll be seeing more of Brujo soon as he is a key player in the drama unfolding within and around me. Stay tuned.

16 September 2008

September Verdure (With Recipe)


Green, green, green! Is there a color that says "Alive!" more insistently? Energy readers see the heart chakra as a beautiful, translucent green, the color of Nature's love. Doesn't it make you feel vital?

It's September 16th—in my part of the Northern Hemisphere green is already starting to give way to yellow, orange and red so we have to get it (and preserve it) while it lasts.

On a recent trip to the farmer's market, I fell in love with the pure verdancy of the tomatillos and the poblano peppers. Very different hues, both singing life at full volume. So I took some home. (Isn't the contrast in texture between the tomatillo husk and fruit amazing?)


Salsa Verde seemed the perfect way to combine these delicacies, so I brewed up my first-ever batch. My version is mildly hot, fat-free, super easy, and fabulously green.

Salsa Verde

A dozen-ish tomatillos
1 poblano pepper
1 medium onion, preferably a sweet variety, like Vidalia
Fresh garlic to taste (I used 4 or 5 cloves)
1/2 large bunch cilantro
1 lime
Pinch of salt

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash off the waxy coating underneath. Chop the tomatillos, pepper, onion and garlic and stew together with a small amount of water until quite soft. Let cool. (I put mine in the refrigerator for a couple of days until I had time for the next step.) It will look like this:


Not green enough yet!


Chop the cilantro (including stems),


and juice the lime.


Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Puree together until smooth. Adjust salt to taste. Serve warm, room temperature, cold or (see below) frozen.

A bit tart, a bit sweet, with a flavorful bouquet I haven't found in jarred or restaurant salsa. I was tempted to eat some for dessert!


To keep the green going all year, freeze or can. I froze some and then scraped a little out of the top of the jar to get the lid to fit more snugly. It made a superb (though unusual) sorbet. Try it and let me know what you think!

08 September 2008

Salvation


You know how life gets busy and you can become jaded? How sometimes it is so easy to stop paying real attention to what and whom you love? To choose, instead, to feel stressed, harassed, unappreciated, over-worked and sorry for yourself? I do.

But one day, if you are very, very lucky, your Sweetheart limps over to you, listing waay to one side cause he is having a disc problem flare up and is in excruciating pain. He stops and leans on the tallest available piece of furniture, one hand pressed to his hip, as if with his fingers alone he could stem the agony. He looks you in the eyes and tiny tears roll down his face, though he is fighting like mad to hold them back. He mouths a choked half-sentence to you, whispering for your ears only a truth he can barely allow to be real:
"It...hurts...so...much."

Your fingers float into the air of their own accord; they brush the wetness from his cheeks while you gaze into his beautiful, raw and open face. And then, if grace is truly with you that day, you experience a moment like no other. In an instant you are awake to how very much you love him, and all the tenderness inside you bursts out from under mounds of anxiety and to-do lists. You are awash in a healing balm so strong that all the soft, vulnerable, over-protected parts of you throw a sudden party. They can breathe freely again, finally, after months and months of slow asphyxiation!

And you (yes, like Harry Potter) are reminded once more that the ability to love is the single greatest power in the world, and that you, self-absorbed and over-anxious as you may at times be, possess that power in great abundance.

Then, and only if you are
the most fortunate and blessed being on Earth, your Sweetheart carefully, with great effort, bends down to kiss you.